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SVT 40 find/question

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by stubbicatt, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. stubbicatt

    stubbicatt Well-Known Member

    Well. I missed the boat back in the early 90s when these rifles were imported in relatively large numbers, and did not buy one at that time for various reasons. Still have my $99 Russian SKS though. Since then, this has been my "grail gun," and I have passed up many examples previously due to condition, or price. --I did not want a refurb.

    So Saturday at the Tanner gunshow in Denver I found a SVT40 Tokarev, Tula, 1941. This version does not bear the SA Finn acceptance stamp anywhere I could see. The stock has a non shellacked finish, there are no electro pencil numbers anywhere on it. The bolt and carrier are in the white. The parts do not match, but the bolt does match the receiver, the bolt carrier and trigger group do not match. There is no import stamp on the rifle that I could see. The bore is easily excellent, with nice square shoulders on the rifling, and years of crud but no obvious pitting.

    Near as I can tell it must have been one of the Finn imports from 1954 or thereabouts, or somehow missed the import stamp, if imported later.

    The rifle is reputed to be difficult to field strip and clean. It wasn't bad at all. The first time taking any rifle apart has its surprises, but thanks to others who have trod this path before me, I was able to view a couple of youtube videos which explained how.

    Of interest to me is the gas system, which is reminiscent of the SVD. The bolt and carrier while unpolished in places are really ingeniously thought out. I know now where the FN folks developed the FAL tipping bolt. The chamber neck and shoulder appear to be fluted, as the cases ejected from it bear the axial burn marks indicative of such, now I know where the HK boys learned that little trick.

    In my view of things this design has had a great deal of influence on subsequent rifle designs. It sort of gets me thinking what a groundbreaking design this was, and developed in Stalin's Soviet Union, back in the 1930's. (Glad I wasn't there...) It is strangely a precise and well designed firearm, with finesses and precision, given its rather crude contemporaries, the Mosin Nagant and PPsh. The finish is rough in many places, but the design is quite refined.

    The trigger has a long take up, and breaks at what seems a reasonable 4 pounds or so. Lock time is surprisingly fast.

    Now the questions: 1) how to remove the firing pin from the bolt for detail cleaning?
    2) The receiver has rails but no notch for the scope mount. Would it harm the value of the rifle to obtain a scope and mount and have my gunsmith notch the receiver to accept the same?

    Thanks guys. --I'll get some photos up eventually.


    There is a little trapdoor in the rear of the receiver which pivots to the side. If one presses the point of the bullet in a cartridge into this opening the trigger group pops out. However, and extremely cool I think, one can run his cleaning rod through here to clean the barrel and chamber from the breech. Very slick.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
  2. caribou

    caribou Well-Known Member

    Also learn to remove and clean the gas sysytem, the key that drifts out and its aignment (gas passes though it) and unscrewing the forward sheetmetal jacket/forsite/muzzel break.
    These will need cleaning and attention.

    DO NOT, have a 'notch' for the scope milled in, in the collectors market, its would be labeld a "Fake sniper' and dispised, but if you dont care and can afford one, a scope mount can be had and made to fit. Up to you, but the collector value will go down for sure. Theres other scope mounts out there too.

    Great find, good luck!
  3. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Well-Known Member

    gas system cleaning is a MUST (hot water to dissolve salt)
    when shooting corrosive ammo

    Do whatever you want to it, just don't expect top dollar
  4. stubbicatt

    stubbicatt Well-Known Member

    Caribou, sure now would I like additional instruction on the gas system.

    I was able to remove the tappet and piston and clean those thoroughly with water based solvent. It sounds as though there is more required in removing gas system parts. I did not see this on the youtube videos I viewed.

    Would you please elaborate?

  5. caribou

    caribou Well-Known Member

    You can remove the fireing pin by pushing it in from where its struck and take out the retaining pin, the spring and firing pin will come right out.

    The front assembly is held in witha drift key that is located between the barrel and gas tube. It has serrations that allow a Mosin tool or a long face drift (or standard screwdriver) to pop out to the left, I belive. The 'Key" has a hole through it and aligns with the hole in the barrel that and allows gas to pas through to the piston above and act against it.

    Anyways, after removeing he Key by drifting, you can grasp the whole forward assambly and twist /unscrew it off as its threaded to the barrel.
    I wash with hot soapy water and an old tooth brush, then rinse in very hot water (the heated metal dries itself) and lightly oil the bare steel, just like the bore.
    Be sure the assembly is retured to wher it began and that the key is aligned properly.
    Alot of SVT-40's have tired bent springs, and magizines fouled with cosmo, that will foul your ammo too and cause problems.

    I hand load the clips or use the stripper guides, as the shpe of the magizine pushes the round belowbackwards and puts the next rounds rim in the forward postion, for smooth feeding.

    The cleaning rod and a brush can easily scrub your chamber from that port in the rear of the trigger houseing.

    The action can be removed from the stock by unscrewing the dimpled screw and estuchion that pass through th stock just in front of the magizine. Do this and remove the hanguards, bands and trigger group, and the barreld action should lift out then.

  6. stubbicatt

    stubbicatt Well-Known Member

    Thank you for your posting Caribou.

    I followed the link to the photos, which didn't seem to illustrate your instructions.

    I will see about drifting the regulator out for cleaning once my little wrench arrives.

  7. caribou

    caribou Well-Known Member


    Sorry bout the link.... anyhoo, it hows evertything but drifting the Key and unscrwing the frontsight assembly from tha barrel.

    Regardless, keeping it as clean as possible, just like any gun is the idea :)

    Shoot it , clean it,...... repeat as soon as possible.
  8. Ash

    Ash Well-Known Member

    Value would go down with the notch and the money spent on sniper-scope packages would not be able to be recouped.
  9. stubbicatt

    stubbicatt Well-Known Member

    Hm. I guess I see a visit to the optician here in my near future. Ask for two prescriptions, one for my general glasses and another that will enable me to see the front sight.

  10. Ash

    Ash Well-Known Member

    Or, you could get another semi-auto that already is set up for scopes and save some money.
  11. stubbicatt

    stubbicatt Well-Known Member

    I appreciate that Ash. I really do. I have other modern rifles, semi auto and bolt actioned, and I shoot them occasionally.

    I dunno. I guess after all it is the same human weakness which made this my "grail gun" for so many years, which refuses now to allow me to give up on this piece. So many years of yearning to have this rifle have invested it with an importance far greater than any objective or disinterested view of it would convey. That I now own it and can learn its secrets, its mysteries, and one day shoot it to its potential is a heady combination. Heck, I'm willing to put a com bloc scope and mount on it if it comes to that...

    As I sit here now I gaze at it... all slender and svelte, a very sophisticated and intricate design. So many design points, such potency in a light, reliable, beautiful package. The figuring in the wood stock... today's rifles have plastic. Not the same, nowhere near the same. Not the same ballpark, not even the same game, to paraphrase Jules Winfield.

    I remember cringing beneath my little desk in elementary school preparing for the nuclear war which everybody knew was going to be unleashed upon us by the evil Soviet Union. The darkness and vastness of that land has fascinated me ever since. The perceptions of a child changed and grew as I did. Now in inspecting every inch of this rifle I am impressed with other aspects of Soviet culture, and see those days and the days before a little differently. What was touted by my betters here in the USA as a crude and inefficient design and manufacturing capacity, reflective of a nearly neanderthal culture, has revealed itself to me differently through this rifle. The manufacturing techniques and the genius of this design for its day, and even today, let me see the musicians, the composers, the poets and other Soviet people of those days, and that continent a little differently. While there were those who would feed Soviet soldiers into a meat grinder, there were also those who set out to design and manufacture the finest infantry rifle that could be made, to put in the hands of those same troops.

    This is not the sort of thing one would set out to make for people one viewed as expendable.

    I guess maybe what I was told and taught about another country just wasn't complete, or accurate. Just as this is not a crude or atavistic design.

    There is nothing else will do, I'm afraid.

    I'll figure out a prescription for my eyes so I can shoot it with some degree of accuracy.

    ... Then again it is also just a tired old surplus rifle.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
  12. Ash

    Ash Well-Known Member

    I have owned numerous SVT-40's, all Finnish. I also have a PSL & NDM-86. When time came to have to thin the herd, I knew I wanted to keep the optics-mounted x54r rifles so let the SVT go.

    To me, the SVT-40 was a fine rifle, better in concept than the Garand. It was more akin to our m14 yet was introduced at the same time as the Garand. Had it been built more robustly, the Soviets would have had parity with US in terms of troops armed with a semi-auto. It suffered only in minor implementation issues (I think the nature of the barrel extension is what caused 1st shot accuracy issues in the sniper versions).

    It will never be the best shooter, which I suppose is why I never fretted about glass on one. But it will always be captivating.
  13. stubbicatt

    stubbicatt Well-Known Member

    Ash, which part is the barrel extension? The muzzle device?

    There are so many ingenious design features, the fluted chamber, the tilting bolt, the muzzle brake, the ease of scope mounting (although in practice I have read the scope was easily knocked from zero). But the feature that fascinates me the most is the magazine. They were able to design a magazine for that rimmed cartridge which would not rimlock. These stone age Communist heathens were able to do what the British either would not, or could not, do for the SMLE. With that big old honkin' rim, the extractor on the rifle has a lot of surface to gain a grip on. I have read and observed that the 7.62NATO round had revisions to the extractor rim groove to facilitate use with automatic weapons, and that groove is what allowed the FAL to utilize the NATO round, as it required a really big, large circumference extractor, to reliably remove the NATO cartridges from the chamber with the tilting bolt, as there were no primary extraction forces to break the case from contact with the chamber such as a rotating bolt would impart.

    I have only shot mine at maybe 35 yards or so at clay pigeons and my poor vision was the limiting factor. Man, I hate being old.

    Ash, you suppose were the action glass bedded to the stock on three axes, that would improve the accuracy some? I see repro stocks available for experimentation which might just do the trick. I have read where many of these actions are sort of sloppy in the stock bedding, and that shims of wood etc were used as field expedient bedding jobs, much as match book covers were used to tighten up M1 rifles. Fortunately mine has no compression or any fore or aft movement I can detect, and while I am unwilling to grasp the barrel and tug it left and right to gage deflection in that axis, I'm thinking it is pretty tight. (I have not removed the action bolt/screw, and see no reason to do so).
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  14. caribou

    caribou Well-Known Member

    The "barrel extention" is the assembly that makes up the gas port,front sight, muzzel brake. It is all welded on a tube that is surrounding/screwed on the front 9 or so inches of the barrel. The "key' holds that in place, from rotateing and misaligning the gas port and sights.
    Remove the action from the stock, it takes just a moment and you can easily see how it all fits together.

    They do make Scopes and mounts that require no cutting/holes or tapping. You might try B-square or orthers.....The original mounts were not very sturdy.

    Accuracy is most affected due to the thin barrel heating up and moving the point of impact after just a few shots. No bedding can help that much.

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